Let the building begin! – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Let the building begin!

The Geneva Community Lakefront Playground Committee has selected Saturday, Oct. 20, as the date to begin construction on the playground, which will be built on the Seneca Lakefront.

The playground is a part of a collaborative project between Hobart and William Smith Colleges and the City of Geneva through the KaBOOM! organization. The announcement of this date comes only a year after KaBOOM! founder and CEO Darell Hammond was on campus to deliver the Convocation address to begin the 2011-2012 academic year.

Recently, the City of Geneva was awarded a $20,000 grant through Let’s Play, a community partnership led by Dr. Pepper Snapple Group to get kids and families active nationwide. Geneva was one of only two cities in all of New York State to be named a “2012 Playful City USA” community by KaBOOM!.

The group says that Geneva was recognized for its outstanding dedication to play, demonstrated in part by the project to build the Community Lakefront Playground and the fact that volunteers from the city, in collaboration with Hobart and William Smith Colleges, successfully completed a playground at West Street Elementary. In a press release announcing the Playful Cities designation, it was noted, “Geneva looks at its goals on a community-wide level and hopes to strengthen connections through the cause of play.”

Currently, the playground project has raised $91,488 toward the goal of $100,000. “We’re on that final push, and every little bit helps!” says assistant Director of the Office for Community Engagement and Service Learning Jeremy Wattles. “We hope to build our entire ‘dream playground’ this fall, and will ‘spruce’ and add a few more features on site in spring 2013.”

Community volunteers and students from the Colleges will team up on Build Day; it is hoped construction will be completed that day. There will be announcements in the near future with more information about volunteering, or interested volunteers can contact CCESL at serve@hws.edu.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, play is critical to healthy brain development. It allows children to use their creativity while simultaneously developing imagination, dexterity and physical, cognitive and emotional strength. Yet, today’s children spend less time playing outside than any previous generation in part because only one-in-five live within walking distance of a park or playground. The resulting play deficit is having profound consequences for kids physically, socially and academically.